Fish River v4a5IV***

Highest pitch 15m

Public access

4.5-6hrs  Total

  • 1.5-2.5hrs access,
  • 3-4hrs descent
  • 10min exit 

With a huge catchment, tricky access and high commitment, this canyon has only been descended a few times.  Some have called it “Wilson Creek on Steroids” for its high flows, narrow canyon and dangerous features.

A viable route only in very low flow conditions in late summer:  even very experienced teams have had some close calls in here with siphons in ‘normal February flows’.  This is a canyon to take very seriously, but all who have been were very impressed at the beauty and power of the canyon.

First descent: Dave Vass and Scott Hall, 19 March 2010.

Thank you to Alain Rohr, Jethro Robinson, Justin Wimmer and Erwan Coq for updated information on this canyon.

Scott Hall’s images

These were taken on the first descent, showing extremely low water levels

Erwan Coq’s images

Taken from a descent with Justin Wimmer in April 2022. After a long dry summer, but you can still see the water level is higher than on the first descent… (Compare the final pitch images from the two galleries…)

4 Trip reports Log your trip

  1. Oscar says:

    Canyon was moderate – low flow, some pour overs, siphons and a hydraulic had some force. The route going to the start of Fish wasn’t great, the bush is particularly dense from the 600m contour to the start of the canyon. Two abseils are single bolts, the others are webbing, a few more anchors would make the descent easier.

    • Date -4/3/23
    • Water level -lower than normal
    • Anchor conditions -All in good condition
    • Group size -2
    • Time: approach/descent/return (eg: 1hr/4hrs/3mins) -3hrs / 2.5hrs / 5 mins
  2. Patrick says:

    Fish is an excellent canyon, well worth 3 stars!

    This trip was our first through, and it was a few weeks after the last team who had done it at the end of a dry spell with low water levels on their trip.

    We had some rain a week prior so figured it would be up a little but this canyon does take quite a while to drain as we found out.

    It was at a high level and definitely created a different experience to what the other teams have encountered. We estimate an extra 30% volume of water from the photos shown. It was a challenge and in these flows every obstacle becomes very time consuming.

    There are legitimate hazards with severe consequences in higher flows. There are technical downclimbs and jumps, pour overs, siphons and narrow sections. In low flows these are non issues, but in normal to high they need good management.

    Fish is an impressive canyon however, and will be on our repeat list.

    • Date -12-2-23
    • Water level -high
    • Anchor conditions -next group needs to do repair/replacement
    • Group size -7
    • Time: approach/descent/return (eg: 1hr/4hrs/3mins) -2 hrs walk in, 4 hrs in canyon.
  3. Madeline Garnache says:

    Didymo in fish, a few anchors replaced, maybe only 2 stars, would probably be 3 stars if there was higher flow, not as good as wilsons

    • Date -22/01/2023
    • Water level -lower than normal
    • Anchor conditions -we did some repairs
    • Group size -5
    • Time: approach/descent/return (eg: 1hr/4hrs/3mins) -4hrs/4hrs/5mins
  4. Erwan Coq says:

    We (Team of 2) did first Powder Flask (2,5h) and than Fish River (3h). The Hike in took us 3 hours and was not to bad of a bush bash. The Powder Flask was low flow and Fish River was in Normal flow. We didn’t found any new big hazards in Fish. We replaced a few webbings in Powder Flask and Fish River.

    R3 in Powder Flask is now 15m, an extra bolt that we placed makes R4 (28m). R3 still could be done in one go. But it is harder to retrieve the rope.

    We did the canyons after a long periode of no rain and in the end of feb ( so no more melting water from the snow)

Submit a trip report

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *